Last week Floyd Mayweather Jr publicly acknowledged he'd consider fighting Sergio Martinez after wavering for most of last year. Every elite fighter from jr welterweight to middleweight would love to win the 'Floyd Mayweather Sweepstakes.' And while Sergio 'Maravilla' Martinez is no exception, he has unfinished business to tend to first.
"If I finally get the chance to fight Chavez Jr and get my belt back, I have to take it . Mayweather is going to have to wait."
"It frustrates me that one guy who calls himself a boxer could be afraid of another boxer and that he has a promoter who spoils him," said Martinez. "He's scared of me. He supposed to fight me and then he calls his daddy and Bob Arum to get out of it."
In response to Sergio Martinez's demands, WBC President Jose Sulaiman announced at the WBC's 49th Annual Convention in December that Sergio Martinez (48-2-2, 27 KO) had officially been slotted as Chavez's immediate, mandatory opponent. Feeling vindicated, Martinez and his team believed Sergio would finally get the opportunity to fight for the title he once held against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in a highly-publicized bout.
But not so fast...
Shortly after the announcement, reports surfaced that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (44-0-1, 31 KO) would be fighting Marco Antonio Rubio on February 4th - and not Sergio Martinez. According to Team Chavez, they had received Sulaiman's blessings to confirm the Rubio bout.
"His father stepped in for him again. There's no other excuse for it, "said Martinez.
Large pay days can usually soothe an athlete's anger or animosity but, apparently, all the money in the world won't quell Martinez's desire to fight and defeat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Obsessed with fighting Chavez Jr or not, Martinez has some in the boxing community believing he's gone too far with his rhetorical comments and verbal barbs at the Chavez Jr, WBC, HBO and Top Rank.
When asked how he'd feel should he defeat Chavez Jr, the soon-to-be 37 year old replied, "It will be justice."
Viewed by adversarial promoters as 'too much risk for the reward,' Sergio Martinez is one of boxing's most avoided fighters. Signing to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr would thrust him into the spotlight and yield him the recognition he believes he deserves. And a win against the boxing legend - or even an admirable showing - would likely catapult him to megastar status and guarantee Martinez high-money purses for the rest of his career. For other champions, the spoils to fight him would be worth the risks.
Most would think Mayweather's greenlighting Martinez for a future superfight would be reason for Sergio to celebrate, but he's not rejoicing.
The potential once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to face a legend like Floyd Mayweather Jr is seemingly not a priority for 'Maravilla' at the moment. Martinez believes he was robbed of the opportunity to keep the WBC Middleweight title he won after won via his second round, one-punch annihilation of Paul Williams on November 20, 2010. Accusing Chavez's team of behind-the-scenes wrongdoing he added:
"It has been proven that he has had unfair advantages because of who his father is or was
he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth."
Perhaps Sergio Martinez is being a bit presumptuous? After all, many believe Chavez will have his hands full next week against the very tough and rugged Marco Antonio Rubio even though most insiders would attest 'Rubio is no Martinez.'
Some in the media also believe Martinez is in grave danger of overlooking his March 17th opponent, Matthew Macklin. Like Rubio, Macklin is a world class opponent who should be taken seriously. A loss to the aggressive Brit would temporarily, or perhaps permanently, sink Martinez's chances of fighting Chavez or getting a multi-million dollar payday with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Losing to Macklin would be a major setback for Martinez.
Despite Martinez's ongoing accusations, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr insists he's not afraid to fight the Argentinian southpaw. In a recent interview with FightSaga.com the 25 year old Mexican stated, "I'm not scared of Sergio Martinez? Why? Why Martinez? Why?"
Infuriated, the current WBC Middleweight Champion added:
"The only reason why they want a fight with me, is because they want more money...they want my name."
"I'm not getting anything out of it. What do I get out of a fight with him? He doesn't have anything that I want. I already told them, offer me something. Offer me something, I'm right here!!"
Exhibiting vast improvement, Chavez Jr was impressive in stopping Peter Manfredo in the fifth round last November and the fight world took notice. Universally a big underdog versus Martinez four months ago, Chavez Jr now has boxing insiders second-guessing. And while most would still make Martinez the favorite, Martinez vs Chavez is no longer the perceived 'mismatch' many labeled it last summer. As a matter of fact, some insiders like longtime trainer and cut man Miguel Diaz pick Chavez to upset the Argentinian 'Wonder.'
"You have to give the advantage to Julio Cesar Jr. in that fight because of what he showed in his last fight," Diaz said. "He showed he can box... He showed he can use his right hand (effectively) which he had never shown before his last fight," said Diaz.
Some boxing insiders today, in contrast to popular sentiment four months ago, believe Martinez's apparent lack of respect for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr could potentially result in Sergio's undoing should they fight. Others, including those in Martinez's camp, believe Sergio would be too bitter and too motivated to underestimate and under-prepare for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
With each passing week, the bad blood between the two warriors seems to intensify. Martinez is motivated by vengeance and Chavez by vindication. One man seeks justice and the other respect.
Should they finally meet in the ring, will Martinez be on fire or will he get burned? The boxing world is brimming with anticipation for what may be a great middleweight clash and quite possibly a 'fight for the ages.'
However, despite Martinez's assertions many in the boxing community believe one man has the power to circumvent Martinez vs Chavez, at least temporarily. Indeed, Floyd Mayweather Jr can offer Martinez something his arch rival cannot - A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fight an all-time great, make a lot of money and possibly become a legend himself overnight.
If forced to pick and choose, would Martinez really choose Chavez over Mayweather?
Either way, fight fans will be in for a real treat!